Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul markets closed

Three of Asia's biggest stock markets were closed Friday for public holidays, while Philippine shares rallied 4.2 percent to their highest in nearly seven years and Malaysian shares hit a 6-year high.

Japanese and South Korean stock and currency markets were closed for Children's Day, a national holiday.

Hong Kong's financial markets were also closed for a public holiday. They were scheduled to reopen on Monday.

In Manila, shares made their strongest one-day gain in more than five years, as foreign funds helped extend a rally for a fourth straight day on the country's positive economic and fiscal outlook.

The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 99.95 points, or 4.2 percent, to 2,470.24, its best close since July 22, 1999, when it ended at 2,488.62.

Friday's advance brings the total index gain to 8.8 percent since the start of this month.

The session's gain represents the biggest single-session rise for the main index since Jan. 22, 2001, when it rose 255.13 points following the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada through a military-backed civilian revolt.

In Kuala Lumpur, shares ended at a fresh 6-year high, led by strong gains in national power utility company Tenaga Nasional.

Brief comments on the importance of developing southern state of Johor by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi helped buoy select construction and infrastructure related stocks while a strengthening ringgit lifted the property sector, dealers said.

The weighted Composite Index of 100 blue chip stocks finished up 0.8 percent, or 7.22 points, at 961.38, reports the AP.


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